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what do you use to image computers in your Org

Posted on 2016-08-08
  • IT Administration
  • Networking
  • Windows OS
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  • Microsoft Enterprise
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
what do you use to image computers in your Org? trying to find a better solution than WDS or MDT
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Question by:NxJNY
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John Hurst earned 251 total points
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Symantec Ghost. We keep images on large USB Hard Drives that we file. You can use Network Storage as well
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by:Joseph Moody
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SCCM - but if you don't like WDS/MDT, you won't like it. :)

What issues are you having with MDT?
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by:NxJNY
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i was using MDT until my company started deploying Lenovo X1 Carbons - because the NIC is not built into the mother board i had issues PXE boot also had issues with drivers also

i got WDS to work but having issues with the X1 Carbons 4th Generation also, works great with the 3rd generation. see errors below

ErrorMessage: Windows installation cannot continue because a required driver could not be installed.

The PXE server processed a request from a client of architecture x86.  However there were no boot images installed for this architecture.  PXE clients of this architecture will not be able to complete the boot process successfully.  To resolve this problem, add at least one boot image for this architecture.
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by:Kimputer
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If there's budget, I'd go for Acronis (the first on the market to support universal restore/bare metal recovery, first to be able to make images while windows is running. has been excellent ever since). You could even do it all from remote from a central console.
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by:Joseph Moody
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For your MDT issue - you just need to add the NIC driver to the boot image. http://www.vkernel.ro/blog/adding-drivers-to-winpe-boot-image-in-mdt-20102012

After that - update the deployment share.
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by:NxJNY
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yeah - i tried all that, after a solution to one issue anther arises also after every X1 Carbon generation i keep running into issues. i do wonder if Lenovo is using different hardware when building to save money or are they generalizing on the hardware
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by:NxJNY
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also i want to start incorporating my mac images also which WDS/MDT does not
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by:John Hurst
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Look at Ghost and Acronis for MAC
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by:Mike T
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Hi,

You could use Acronis but the snag is it still uses WinPE so you still have to sort the drivers out I'm guessing.

I know your pain - I had every single model Dell had out at my last job, and yes they changed chipset half-way though a production cycle despite promising not to. We also started with a few Lenovos too but the cheaper ones and they were easy to manage except for the BIOS. Then someone flipped the buy Dell switch making the work redundant.

Anyway....imaging is old hat and too inflexible these days and has limited use-case. If Lenovo are changing that often you are going to end up with a library full of images for each iteration.
I would only image if a) the deploy time was critical b) you have two or three pieces of hardware that are never going to change and have no software changes either.

If you are serious you want to avoid MDT (and it's giant brother SCCM) then check out "Gizmo's disk imaging list". He covers all the main current drive imaging software products nicely. It is then down to you to try them out.

The answer also depends on how big your company is? If you're small then you'll be wanting something free. Ghost and Acronis are pricey as you go up, as they charge you per use, not even per machine (I think).

Personally, I'd stick with MDT as better the devil you know.

Mike
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by:NxJNY
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Thanks
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by:Kimputer
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Some misconceptions:
Acronis was always Linux based for the boot cd/usb, and always included server drivers for the big servers' RAID controllers (HP, Dell etc) as well as the NIC's
In Windows, for creating the images (can be done from a central control panel), drivers are of course not an issue (as you're already in Windows).
Also Acronis is simple licensing, just per server/agent etc. Not per usage.
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by:Mike T
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I stand corrected on Acronis. I'm thinking of Ghost I think and its revamp by Symantec.
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by:vivigatt
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iPXE, sometimes in conjunction with some other tools, can do a lot in the remote-boot/imaging space

http://ipxe.org

Free and opensource
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